Opinion: Filibuster busts nomination system


Republican senators McCain and Graham accomplish nothing with their hard-headed filibustering.

Republican Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain recently filibustered President Obama’s nominees for C.I.A. Director (counterterrorism adviser John Brennan) as well as Secretary of Defense (former senator Chuck Hagel). This is an unprecedented phenomenon, as it hasn’t happened in at least 150 years.

It has always been the consensus of each party that the President would pick and appoint his cabinet members, surrounding himself with people that affiliate themselves with the President’s party. But, as we’ve seen more and more throughout the past term, American politicians on the right are becoming less and less inclined to compromise.

There is no true reason for the filibuster besides the fact that Senators McCain and Graham don’t want the influence of more Democratic bureaucrats in Obama’s cabinet. They offer a feeble explanation that accuses the Democrats of hiding some massive secret about the attacks on Benghazi and insist that these truths be revealed before new national security chiefs can be appointed. What the Senators fail to realize, however, is that this filibuster puts the United States in graver danger than ever before.

Two of the most influential and learned individuals in American foreign policy are currently not serving in the posts they deserve due to this filibuster. Neither the C.I.A. nor the Pentagon has a tried and true leader who can help lead American agencies against terrorism. In a national security sense, America is at her weakest point in decades. And why? Political gridlock.

Americans have bemoaned it for years, complaining that Congress doesn’t get anything done because there is a lack of compromise. And yet, through all those complaints, Congress has always been able to figure out a solution before the situation becomes dire. But not this time. Instead, an uncompromising senate caused the dire situation.

Because of the right wing’s unwillingness to compromise on even the most accepted of practices, political gridlock has morphed into an even more powerful and frightening term. With the feared sequester looming, threatening to again plunge America into recession, how does this foreshadow what is to come? If G.O.P. Senators can’t compromise on a simple cabinet appointment, how can they be expected to compromise on cutting spending in an efficient and productive manner?

The American public should be slightly less than optimistic looking toward the near future. President Obama promised a second term filled with bipartisan compromise and progress on all fronts, and yet so far both parties seem beleaguered and unfulfilled.

Instead of promoting well being for all and trying to further push the economic collapse of 2008 behind, politicians on Capitol Hill are instead creating greater gridlock and further polarizing this great nation. Before any true progress can be made, this terrible phenomenon must be reversed, and it starts with the acceptance of John Brennan and Chuck Hagel.